Tag Archives: independence

Demon Lover

You were my demon
always controlling
demanding your opinions
become mine

Rewrite my script
no longer my Mother’s
dictates, my Father
following meekly behind
making her choose,
decide, direct –
didn’t she ever tire
of all the wretched decisions
in her impossible world.

Yet here I was
meekly following
with a stirring of resistance
that refused to rise
to the surface –
just let him make decisions
then he has the blame
when they fail.

I was so culpable
gullible, tortured,
yet wielding
the whip –
demanding his choice
falling on my own sword.

The pattern continued
for so long
now broken,
but so are the dreams.
I am responsible,
but I lost so much
to gain myself.

Independence versus Compliance

I have lived life both as an independent person and one who relied on others to make my decisions and create change in my life.  People like my Mother who forcefully made my decisions, paid money to eradicate my debts, and made it easy for me to not stand for myself and my children.  An ex- husband who controlled everything in my life.  For a long time I looked to others for solutions to my problems and I can now declare independence beats passivity every time. My experience is not reflective of others; I just know passivity kept me a prisoner and made me sicker, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Years ago I was severely depressed and went to Western Mental Health Authority in Torrington, CT.  I tried some classes, counseling on financial matters, and was a phone counselor on the Warm Line (a service for the mentally and emotionally ill).  The classes made me feel worse because I saw people who I knew were so much more problematic than I doing better than me because my depression overrode everything else in my mind.  I had trouble relating to others in the programs.

But the Warm Line made me feel better because I had a Psychology background.  The down side was the same people called again and again, sometimes several times a night. I felt I was holding their hands over the phone lines but that I wasn’t making any effective change in their lives.  I didn’t hear recovery.

Slowly I was learning and progressing.  It took time and an experimentation of different psych meds.  I moved across the country, driving on my own, thinking I would have the connections I so sought with my children.  But I landed in a place where I lacked support, my children were busy building their own lives, my daughter was in Africa and my son was engaged to be married and very connected to his fiancee’s family.  Given that I’m shy and an introvert, it was tough going for a year.  Then I found a housing community for those over 50 in another town and began rebuilding my life.

Unfortunately, I became very ill with a 5% chance of living only with major surgery.  My body went septic and most major organs shut down.  Most of my intestines and my gall bladder were necrotic, I was on life support, and was put into a medically induced coma which ended up causing some traumatic brain injuries.  After three weeks of coma and another couple weeks in the hospital, I was moved to a rehabilitation center as I had lost all muscle memory and had to relearn to move every muscle in my body – every finger, toe, arm, everything was still.  No independence at all.  Not able to make any decisions on my own.  People had to feed me, clothe, me, bathe me.  I had a colostomy bag for a year which was a whole trauma in itself.  I was a slug.  My son came every day during that time to make sure I was following the decisions of doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapists.  Being stubborn, I fought this waste land of a body.  I tried standing and walking too soon, joining the Frequent Fallers Club.  So I had to learn that stubbornly acting against the wisdom of others in this case was working against me.

The experience forged an independence of spirit in me.  Every day was a struggle  and even though I was still battling Major Depression/Bipolar, I couldn’t let it claim me.  I had to get better.  I had to believe that God had saved me for some purpose or I wouldn’t be there.  I learned to walk first on bars, than on walkers, then on my own.  No wheelchairs.  I was responsible for my own steam.  For a long time a walk of any length once I left the rehab, required a walker which was embarrassing but essential.  Sometimes my legs would just give out on me, especially embarrassing in church, although there were a lot of prayers sent my way from both coasts. But I got better and after a year I was rid of the colostomy bag – a miracle, there was only enough space left in my intestines for them to be connected.

Now I prefer the life of an independent person.  When I do turn to others’, it is for advice but the decisions are mine.  I am financially responsible for myself.  I work part-time in service as a caregiver to others even though I still have disabilities impeding me.  I don’t appreciate being told by others what to do but I will listen respectfully then make my own determinations.  As I stubbornly didn’t let others  control my life, my relationships  improved.  I work hard to keep a lid on the Depression even though I feel it within me at all times, it does not dictate its’ force upon me.  Activity helps. Working helps.  It is an esteem builder, even though my job can be very difficult.  I just need to be aware of my limits.

Independence has given me a life worth living, one with purpose and meaning.

Safety or . . .

I just got back from elder-sitting for six hours. I was there a couple of evenings ago as well. It occurs to me the humiliation and anger an elder feels when someone else has to tell him or her what can and can not be done. To b told you are moving around to much. . . that more rest is needed because you are short of breath . . . or you need help going to the toilet. I don’t know about you, but I’d resent it.

It doesn’t matter that you Need a monitor. She is there and that is enough. Everything coming out of her mouth might fuel anger and hate even more. Even if some part of you knows it is necessary. It infantilizes an adult who has lived independently for the balance of his life. His wife is as confused as he, more so. But they are of one breath now. He eats half a sandwich, she the other. But her mind is going, she continues to recover from seven strokes.

He tries to sneak out the door, rolling the wheelchair in front of him, touching his finger to his lips toward his wife. As if I wouldn’t see him. He wants to go to the front desk – one floor and a lot of walking away – to get an envelope. Something it would take at least an hour to do on his own, with me it is ten minutes. But he would have had his freedom for a time.

What is more important, moments of freedom or safety? Someone to watch over him, even though he doesn’t know her well? Someone who needs to try to calm him, to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself? I’d choose freedom every time. I already do. So I know I am nothing but an intrusion. He is a man with a wife and a rich and full life at one time. And now it’s over, with some woman telling him to “behave” as if he were a recalcitrant child. My rage would be unspeakable . . . is his?

The Dreaded DMV Story

‘Da Dreaded DMV story

Reading Atypical 60’s blog today reminded me of the nightmare I underwent when I moved to Connecticut.  It wasn’t the lines – although they were there.  It wasn’t the hot, heavy, rank smell of sweat, although that was there as well.  It was about the persecution of a woman that could never be done to a man, simply because, he was a man.

I had all my little documents in my hands as I spent a couple of hours in line, to be told to go stand in another line (well, this time I could sit).  When finally called up to the representative, I was told I had to provide proof of all the times I changed my name during my life.

That presents a few difficulties.  Two marriages, a business name, the name I used between marriages, the name I used after both ended. Oh, and my maiden name. Additionally, I am someone who has trouble staying put.  I’ve lived in about 15 places in my life.  My dad was a minister and they tend to be trotted here and there at the District’s/Bishop’s whim. So that was a few in New York and Connecticut.  I was born in Kentucky (1)  while my dad was in college.

Then there were my life choices. (2) A marriage and move to New Jersey. (3)A divorce with a name change but instead of using the American spelling of my maiden name, I chose the Norwegian spelling. A move to California and marriage a couple of years later (4). Since I was already using my business name (5), I incorporated it into my marriage name (6). Backtrack . . . We got married in Seattle, Washington. One more state of paperwork.  Then there was there was the eventual divorce number 2. I chose to adopt my grandmother’s maiden name because I wanted to honor my father but I was damned if I would ever take a man’s name again (7) once I had moved to Connecticut and the divorce was finalized. I am only grateful because I didn’t also have to provide proof of residence, just state, or it would have been another 7 or 8 places.  I am terrified that down the road I’ll have to show proof of my Facebook name or my email address or other internet names which will need to be included.

I had to go back to the DMV five times.  Each time it was to face the lines only to find out I needed something more or different or from another department in one state or another. Finally I had enough!!!  I called my State Representative and explained the persecution I was undergoing.  Within a week I was granted my license. I didn’t even have to stand in line.  However, when my renewal comes, I will have to finish this process DMV declares just.  I may take them to court.  I realize this has some vague connection to NATIONAL SECURITY but let’s be real – this is ridiculous!

I have one question?  Would this happen to a man?